The USA Today has an article on Verenium's demonstration scale cellulosic ethanol facility. The facility began startup operations in April and after some initial equipment and process problems, started production earlier this week.
Come visit a scruffy patch of land here in sugar-cane country, where 15-foot-high piles of what looks like hay stretch three blocks alongside a gleaming, silver-and-yellow jumble of pipes, tanks and girders.
The hay, actually crushed sugar-cane stalks, is feedstock for the first cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in the USA. The biorefinery cranked up this week and, according to its backers, kicks off a new era of clean transportation fuels that won't compete with the food supply. Corn-based ethanol, by contrast, has been blamed for driving up food prices and doing little to reduce the global warming gases emitted by petroleum-fueled vehicles.
The plant located in Jennings, Louisiana will make 1.4 million gallons of ethanol per year from sugarcane stalks (bagasse) leftover from sugar production.